Photo: Daily Mail screenshot
I can’t remember how I first discovered Samantha Brick. I believe one of the many British journalists I follow on Twitter posted the article in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with some sort of incredulous statement — like hundreds of tweets I see a day.Regardless, I clicked.
The article, entitled “‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful”, detailed the trials and tribulations of a woman called Samantha Brick, apparently blessed, and cursed, by her good looks.
Here’s how the article begins:
On a recent flight to New York, I was delighted when a stewardess came over and gave me a bottle of champagne.
‘This is from the captain — he wants to welcome you on board and hopes you have a great flight today,’ she explained.
You’re probably thinking ‘what a lovely surprise’. But while it was lovely, it wasn’t a surprise. At least, not for me.
The article also featured several large photos of the tall, blonde Brick, a 41-year-old British wife who lives in rural France — almost all taken by a professional photographer.
Brick apparently had a tough time as, despite the attention and gifts lavished upon her by male admirers, the females of the species just couldn’t get on with her. They “hated her for being beautiful”.
I posted the photo to Facebook, and almost instantly it was being liked and commented on by friends. A number made disparaging comments about Brick, while others commented that the article must be an April fools joke.
It seems I wasn’t alone in sharing the story — at the time of writing the article has 156,000 “likes” and more than 5600 comments (many negative).
Now, following that backlash, the Daily Mail stuck to its guns — the next day they published a response article to the criticism, titled “The I’m so beautiful backlash: In yesterday’s Mail, Samantha Brick claimed other women loathe her for being too attractive. It provoked a worldwide internet storm. Here she says: This bile just proves I’m right.”
This morning they published a third article, featuring multiple professional pictures of Brick, entitled “Samantha Brick exclusive pictures: Are these the looks that make every woman hate her?” (the title has since changed).
Brick has been interviewed by the respectable broadsheet the Independent (“it was never my intention to brag”), while the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman describes the article as “absurd” and says that the Mail threw her “to the wolves”.
Earlier today Brick appeared on ITV’s This Morning, getting into a heated discussion with the hosts and a “psychologist” brought on to discuss the issue (the clip below is fascinating and really worth watching).
Regardless what you think of Brick, there is one clear takeaway from this sequence of events — an idea well explained in Lauren Collin’s recent New Yorker article on the Daily Mail and its website, now the largest newspaper website in the world:
The Daily Mail’s editors are geniuses at getting you to read something — even, or perhaps especially, if you hate it.
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